Tuesday, February 09, 2010

KUOW Now

It's noon and KUOW's The Conversation will be talking with Rob Stein, principal (and alum) of Manual High School in Denver. Andrew has a separate thread about him and his school but here's a chance to hear him yourself.

7 comments:

wseadawg said...

Two things he said that were absolutely dead on point: 1. The district's policies if desegregation masked problems of how well the district was serving low income kids, who were mostly minority kids." (Sound familiar?)

2. The district had NEVER done a good job of serving low income kids. Ditto.

My conclusion: Large scale, top-down management masks the real problems, rarely accomplishes any sort of improvement, ignores struggling kids, but looks good on paper - for awhile.

reader said...

That's what NCLB is all about. Disaggregated data. You might hate the act, but it does shine a bright light on that fact of life.

wseadawg said...

Reader: Are you saying NCLB is working then? All I see is administrations doing everything they can to move struggling kids away from that light and back into the shadows, while trumpeting how they are "turning schools around." Is it No Schools Left Behind or No Child Left Behind. Focusing on the first thing is the easy way out.

wseadawg said...

Here's an example of modern use of data:

Let's talk about those pesky graduation rates. One of the keystones of Mayor Bloomberg's campaign this past fall was the improvement of the graduation rates in New York City. He has claimed a rate as high as 70 percent. Here are the facts: New York State Education Department statistics clearly determine that the graduation rate in New York City is 52 percent. Mayor Bloomberg has conveniently invented his own mathematical formula to determine the NYC graduation rate. What he and his chancellor of education, Joel Klein have done is create "Discharge Codes." Discharge Codes are ways of designating students who have disappeared from the city schools as "other than dropouts." In fact, they have invented so many Discharge Codes that they are unable to determine what actually happened to the student. This is a convenient manipulation to obfuscate the graduation rate. So egregious is this activity that Advocates for Children did a study this past year citing tens of thousands of children being listed as "discharged" (not dropped out) yet the New York City administration was unable to demonstrate where these children went. Over the past six years, most of the discharges are students of color. The graduation rate for African-American males is 29 percent.

COMMENTARY: Mayoral control doesn't work and is wrong; January 14, 2010 by William C. Cala, Ed.D,
former interim superintendent of the Rochester City School District and former superintendent of Fairport schools.)
http://www.rochestercitynewspaper.com/news/articles/2010/01/COMMENTARY-Mayoral-control-doesnt-work-and-is-wrong/

All those in favor of Reform, say "aye."

reader said...

wseadawg, you are mistaken if you think there is some shadow for the district to hide kids in. There isn't. Which school has been turned around? I haven't heard the trumpet. The district has claimed a score or two has been improved. That claim is almost always just a plain old lie. But, it isn't NCLB that is telling the fib. NCLB is the thing that allows us to check the veracity of the claim.

NCLB is working to shine a light on the information. It is making it impossible for the district to claim really big successes without leaving lots of kids behind.

But no, NCLB can't all by itself fix every problem. Personally, I believe NCLB needs more teeth, not fewer.

reader said...

The fact that districts lie and states lie about true graduation rates simply means that NCLB isn't as powerful as it should be. I think districts should be required to report the real truth about graduation too. We don't want to weaken NCLB, we need to strengthen it, and make it more meaningful. Perhaps it should have some measures that are about career readiness instead of college readiness. It is unrealistic to expect everyone to go to college... unless we turn college into high school. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't have high standards for people who don't intend to go to college.

dan dempsey said...

"Mayor Bloomberg has conveniently invented his own mathematical formula to determine the NYC graduation rate."

He is not alone check CAO Enfield's 98% graduation rate for NT Sacramento.
That 98% is on file with cde stats and 95% for another year at NT Sacramento. The reality is about 70% of 9th graders become 11th graders.